We had the good fortune of connecting with Taylor Rivera and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Taylor, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
For me risk taking has always been about truth. Is the risk I’m taking motivated by my inner truth? The truth behind understanding what motivates and inspires you to live or create in the first place. If the intention behind the risk aligns with my inner truth then there’s nothing that can hold me back. Without taking risks my life would be very different. I may not be the artist I am today, I may have never found love, or the courage to follow my dreams, and most importantly I may have never found myself.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
To say I am an artist is an understatement, rather I would say I am the art. I am a living, walking, breathing, bleeding art piece. Though my statement may sound dramatic or contrived to others it is simply a fact for me. For as long as I could remember I was creating. Wether it be through fashion, design, direction, photography, writing, acting, singing, or hairstyling. I have always felt the need to bring my vision into the physical realm. Growing up in the small midwestern town of Topeka Kansas as a first generation Mexican American and queer identifying person was never an easy task. Being raised in the heteronormative mindset that is so deeply intertwined with midwestern culture, I was always aware of the fact that I was “different”. While this hyper awareness led to me being ostracized by my fellow peers it would soon become my biggest asset. As an adolescent my family and I moved to Los Angeles. The 6 years that followed being surrounded by art, culture, and creativity would allow me to break free of the narrow minded views that shaped my childhood. With my new found freedom and finally being of age I decided to take a leap of faith and moved myself to New York. Falling deeper into the isolation that comes from being in a new city, I was forced find a sense of self. A deeper meaning and understanding of my identity as an artist and as an individual. Though my time in New York was short lived it was not without purpose. That experience allowed me to make peace with where I had come from and grow into who I was meant to be. I decided it was finally time to put all of the years of self exploration to good use. Moving back to my hometown I made amends with the place that once filled me with fear. I became a licensed hairstylist which allowed me to finally get my foot into the production door. I began creating more than I had ever before. Bringing my vision to life through photography, film, and music videos. All of these life experiences most recently led to me creating my debut exhibition “Identity: A Queer Evolution”. A series that I feel to be my best work to date. Encompassing my life long struggle with self acceptance through the art of storytelling, photography, makeup, hair, and artistic direction I have been able to bring my vast array of creative skills into existence. I share my story so you may see what moves me to create and inspires me live authentically. We all have the ability to uplift and inspire others to find power through their pain. There is always beauty within the darkness. This is the message I hope to convey through my art, one of self love and rebirth.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Kansas City is a great city to get lost in. Having lived in both LA and NY I’m always drawn to a place full of diverse culture, a thriving artist community, and a plethora of food options. None of which Kansas City is lacking in. I’m a lover of antiques and vintage clothing so I’d probably have to stop by two of my favorite local small businesses Arizona Trading Company and River City Antique Mall. After working up an appetite I might stop by the Westside Local for some delicious food and hand crafted cocktails on their beautiful outdoor patio. I’d recommend any art lover to spend a day at The Nelson museum. Soaking up their abundant collection of art throughout history or enjoying a picnic on their front lawn. Finishing off the evening with a nightcap at one of my favorite bars, The Green Lady Lounge. A space where you can always count on a stiff drink with a side of live jazz.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would definitely have to say the support system I choose to surround myself with. My mother, my partner, and my close family and friends. These are the core people who have been my biggest fans since the beginning. I think making sure you have a group of people or even just one person who can be a voice of reason is so important. Especially in the chaos of today’s society it’s easy to get lost in all the white noise. Finding people who celebrate you, are honest when you need it, and authentically love all of you is hard to come by and always deserves recognition.

Instagram: @theartist333

Other: Email for booking: Starvingartist333@gmail.com

Image Credits
Kelly Powell and Taylor Rivera

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